Watts, James D. "J. D."(born: April 1871) During his prime years, James D. Watts was a middleweight boxer who lived in Louisville, KY. He was also a boxing instructor at the Louisville Pasttime Athletic Club. He fought under the name J. D. Watts.
His boxing career started in 1895 with a win over Tom Lansing. He also fought Roeber about the same time, though that fight and his fight in 1896 with Hutchinson in Hot Springs, AR were not recorded in his record online. In 1900, J. D. Watts was enumerated twice in the U.S. Census, once in Louisville with his family, and once in Cincinnati, OH, when he was renting a room and enumerated as a prizefighter.
J. D. Watts was living in South Bend, IN in 1913, when Dr. James Jones, a dentist, stole Watts' gold teeth from his mouth, then disappeared. Watts searched for the man for months, eventually finding him in Chicago, IL. When Watts saw Jones on the street, Watts chased him down on foot, caught him, and turned him over to the police. The case went to court in Hammond, IN. There were several other victims with the same complaint.
In 1914, J. D. Watts was giving exhibition fights in Michigan City, IN. He also claimed to be a wrestler and was looking for any takers. During his career, J. D. Watts fought at least 43 bouts from 1895-1919 with a record of 18 wins, 19 losses, and five draws, according to his record on the Boxer List website. He was going by the name "Jimmy Watts" at his last fight in 1919 and was referred to in the newspapers as a "veteran boxer" and an "old timer." For that one fight, he was a heavyweight contender said to be 44 years old (though, he may have been older) who had not had a professional fight since 1905.
Watts had been a trainer since stepping out of the ring. He was upset when his fighter was knocked out in the first round of a fight, so after a few months of training Watts took to the ring to teach the young opponent a lesson and to get a bit of revenge for his fighter being knocked out so early in the his fight. Watts' upcoming fight in 1919 was billed as the main bout at the Academy Theater in Pittsburgh, PA. Billy Mercer, aka Al Grayber, knocked-out Jimmy Watts in the second round. Prior to the knockout, the score cards had mostly been in Mercer's favor with four wins and two draws.
James D. Watts' death date and location are not known at this time. His wife and children are enumerated as living in Chicago in the 1910 through 1950 U.S. Censuses. James D. Watts may have been born in Kirksville, though Richmond, KY is his birth as stated on his son's Herman's World War I Draft Registration Card in Ancestry.
James D. Watts was the son of Mollie Watts. His mother was enumerated with James Watts' family in the 1900 U.S. Census. James D. Watts was the husband of Ida Kelley Watts; the couple was married in Louisville on June 18, 1894. A copy of their marriage certificate is available in Ancestry.
Sources: "Chief of Police Taylor ...," Louisville Courier-Journal, 4/3/1896, p. 5; "Watts and Hutchinson," The Courier-Journal, 2/18/1896, p. 6; Jimmy Watts (J. D. Watts) at the Boxer List website; "Alleges dentist stole his teeth," The Brownstown Banner, 9/17/1913, front page; "Jim "blows in" Michigan City," The Lake County Times, 3/14/1914, p. 5; "Veteran boxer to appear," The Pittsburgh Press, 2/19/1919, p. 24.